What is Unexpected Prize, Win or Inheritance Fraud?
Unexpected prize and lottery scams work by asking you to pay some sort of fee in order to claim your prize or winnings from a competition or lottery you never entered or to collect an inheritance you didn’t know about. These “unexpected windfall” notifications usually come by letter or email.
The scammers may justify the fee by suggesting it is for insurance costs, bank fees, courier charges or for taxes.
Another variation is the Nigerian letter scam where an individual unknown to you asks you to help them transfer a large sum of money out of Nigeria in return for a large fee.
How to protect yourself from these scams:
- Remember it is highly unlikely that you’ll win a large unexpected prize or inherit money you were not expecting
- Be very wary of responding to any contact that promises lots of money or easy money for helping a stranger to move funds
- Be cautious of any communication that presses you to act ‘now’ or the offer won’t be good
- Never give money to receive money i.e. send money for postage, insurance, fees etc. until you have fully and independently checked out the legitimacy of the offer
- Do not send money, give a credit card or bank account number, or have a cheque picked up by courier in order to get the money until you have fully and independently checked out the legitimacy of the offer
- As a basic rule, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is too good to be true.